How we play our games continues to change and eventually, the console may disappear entirely.

With the rise of cloud computing and technological limitations, id Software's John Carmack believes the console could die out in 10 years. Speaking in a recent Eurogamer interview , the long-time game maker talks about the future and wonders what it holds in store.

"The next-generation will be here soon, in a couple of years. That’s going to be that much farther beyond [the current generation]. It’ll be another ten times as powerful as this. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t last over a decade before people wind up saying, well, we’ve really tapped out everything you could possibly do on there.

It’s a scary thought to think, is the generation after the next one the last console generation, effectively?"

It seems the difficulty will come in convincing people to purchase more costly machines. "They'll be able to do it on the next generation," Carmack said, "but it's going to be much harder." And as for the generation after that, who knows? He adds that there are "huge advantages" for "piping everything over a broadband connection," which may effectively end the console's reign.

For our part, we maintain our stance that without a physical product, the hardcore gamers will be quite unhappy. But perhaps in time, that will change as well.

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Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

"The next-generation will be here soon, in a couple of years."

So he is predicting 2 years?

I think there a few important factors to take into account…

Firstly, OnLive is already available and experimenting with "broadband" gaming over the internet. There are still lag issues eventhough OnLive's CEO admits that streaming and network lag detection algorithms are being continously worked on and "improved". The issue is that network congestion and internet "pipe-sharing" won't just go away, infact it could get worse as more and more people demand faster speeds.

Carmack my invisage a world where everything is "streamed" to the user, but there are limitations such as cost per megabyte of data, i.e. the dreaded data cap; and how many people want access to the same service in highly congested areas… especially if this takes into account cellular – let's face it, more and more people want to game on the go too, and this demand will only rise. As we all know, wireless cellular datacaps are even worse than physical fixed line datacaps…

It is conceivable that in 10 years time data costs will not be such an issue, but we don't know that for sure. I work in the Telecommunications field as a radio planning and optimisation consultant, and I can tell you, getting a cellular network to behave properly under heavy load is not easy… trust me on this 🙂

Carmack also speaks as if everyone will have access to the internet. A good majority of people will, but not everyone. There may also be individuals who want to play their gaming "offline", who are comfortable with the idea of remaining "off the grid" so to speak. What happens to them?

The cloud will become more important, but there are real security concerns to. Just look at the past 2 months, and see how many other websites and internet services were hacked to sh*t! The CIA's site went down yesterday thanks to Luzsec… its almost impossible to find these people. Sony also recently admitted they still have no clue who broke into PSN definatively.

I don't know, I get a funny feeling about this… c'mon, who wants all their gaming internet based and in the cloud?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"


Last edited by Qubex on 6/16/2011 11:12:28 AM

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

It's probably not so much a prediction as it having knowledge of dev kits out in the wild.
A 2 year lead in time to a next gen cycle is necessary for devs to prep the software.
ID may very well have hardware in their possession already.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

I think yes, but not necessarily specific development boxes for the next generation of Xbox or Playstation. I think what developers do is look at current technology in the PC world, especially GPU technologies and corresponding graphical bandwidth these GPU's can attain, and base much of the planning on what thet technology can do now.

As we saw recently at the developers conference, Epic rolled out their impressive tech demo based on current PC specified GPU cards from NVIDIA. Essentially they were making a statement to Microsoft and Sony that this is what they can do now with todays tech, "so please engineer your next generation hardware to do this as a minimum bench mark"… otherwise, hell… what type of improvement would we have had over what we already have?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Qubex, I agree with you here – regarding onlive and broadband streaming.

The problem with streaming gameplay over broadband is one of the capacity of the network and the latency of the network. Unless there are going to be huge numbers of powerful game servers scattered across the glow, there will always be latency issues with the controls. Even with fiber links and optical switching, there are still certain fundamental things that have to happen for a data packet containing control information to be sent to a remote game server. At 60 frames per second, there are only 16.7ms per frame. In a fast game, you want your controls to be responsive within that time so that the control is real-time to the user. But even pinging my local ISP takes longer than that. Even if we overcame the bandwidth issues, I don't see how we can ever overcome the controller latency problems. Unless we start using predictive logic where the game server predicts controller input, but I think that would be even worse for hardcore games.

I honestly think we are more likely to see a situation where games do not physically, or electronically reside in our home console. So we might stream the game to the console for local execution. But even that requires a lot of bandwidth to avoid long load times.

Personally, I'm a lot more comfortable with the idea of digital delivery with local storage than I am with full game streaming. I'd prefer to keep the physical media as well, but I realize that may not be possible – long term.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

…scattered across the GLOBE…

Stupid predictive typing…

jlch777
jlch777
9 years ago

There are still 30fps games that struggle with latency problems (I am looking at you NFS Shift 2) imagine playing those games over a internet connection -_- You have to sum the latency from the tv, from the software itself then add the latency of a crappy Broadband connection nnnaaaahh!!!

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Completely agree with Highlander and Qubex.

I think streaming and cloud based gaming is still a long LONG ways off. I'm thinking 20-25 years, or until the bandwidth and latency issues are completely wiped out.

I think digital download will increase, only if prices for digital service goes down, and Steam appears to be the only service that offers discounts on digital download over its physical media brethren.

On PSN and Live, Assassin's Creed 1 is 29.95 (here in Australia) to download, when EB Games and other stores are selling the disc for $20, or $16 preowned.

So, there are many factors that need to be in place before Cloud based gaming and streaming becomes the norm.

1. Internet bandwidth increased and no latency issues.

2. Cheaper price for downloads than physical media.

3. Fibre-optic internet coverage for more than 90% of the world

4. ISP's that offer unlimited access and download limits, both mobile and landline.

The fact that PS2's are still selling even though they are 11 years old technology is proof enough that the world isn't ready for cloud based gaming and streaming anytime soon, not even in 10 years.

I think it's gonna be another 3 console generations before the console is finally wiped out, but even then there will always be an audience wanting physical media and single player stories, like me.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Wonderful post Dancemachine, yes Highlander and yourself raise some important points. 90% of world does need fiber to the home to make it a non-latent fully broadband world I think…

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

Does anyone take into consideration what will broadband cost if cloud gaming takes off?

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Hmmm, well, it's not really about ISP provider rates.
Instead, it'll be buying into service packages. Xbox Live, for example. You pay extra for a value added service.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Think of the bandwidth caps. Comcast has a relatively poorly known limit of 250GB, which sounds like a lot, unless you start streaming HD movies on Netflix every night, or streaming games to your screen… With more than one gamer in the home, bandwidth becomes a real issue as you can't really have two, three or more HD video data streams without wholesale change in infrastructure and ISP policy.

ace_boon_coon
ace_boon_coon
9 years ago

Yeah cloud gaming won't take off for at least another ten years I believe. AT least I hope. I will continue to hoard my physical media.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Since many of you here are from the US or UK, I would like to point out that many countries like Australia have abysmal internet speed and horrible download limit packages.

I'm one of the lucky ones to have a great high speed connection at 5 Mbits p/s and a 100GB monthly download limit. Only a handful of people here have that luxury.

Netflix, Hulu, all of those movie streaming services are not available here in Australia. We're lucky enough to have Youtube.

Many countries are worse off than Australia in terms of internet and ISP's and download limits. Even speed is a factor, and 5Mbits p/s is heaps in this country.

Anyways, when talking about stream gaming, you gotta consider the state of the internet for the world, not just the US alone. A lot of people will be left out in the dark 10 years from now if it were to happen.

Sancho
Sancho
9 years ago

Well I am in the states and I have comcast. I've heard of the internet cap, but I stream movies on Netflix in HD constantly when I'm not playing games. Seriously like ALL the time. And I've never been taxed any overage charges. Also at one point in time when I got my 320 gig HDD for my PS3 I literally downloaded every demo in the store unless I already had the game. Still I've never received an overage on my cap. I believe that the cap is only in certain states. I'm in Missouri and being as its not like California in population they may not care about enforcing or applying it to our accounts. Idk but thought that it would add to the discussion.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Check the small print.

The reason for the cap is that they want to have a way to ban accounts of people running torrents. It's not intended to hit people like you or me watching movies on Netflix or playing PS3/360 games. But you know how it is, rules like that have a way of hurting everyone.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I have no doubts that this will be the eventual future.

Consoles will, over time, seem very "horse n carriage"

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

I honestly don't think people are going to ever truly adopt streaming in such a widespread fashion as people think. As you say Ben, the physical aspect of actually owning the game, is really a big deal. The thought of losing every single one of your purchases due to either a new streaming device, a company going under etc… just isn't financially sound.

I think eventually consoles will simply be folded into a form factor of PC. You can basically do it now without much cost (no, I'm not talking a high-end gaming rig), they're just not as slick in appearance as the consoles.

For me though, there's no way in hell I'll EVER be utilizing a streaming service. Ever. I'm way to accustomed to having full control over my devices, software, network, etc… And going through a streaming service is simply asking me to trust in people. And, well, people haven't earned my trust in a long, long time.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Yes, but how long until Broadband can pipe through enough information for us to enjoy high amounts of HD goodness?

To me, the first step is that -everyone-, -everywhere- needs to first have fiber-optics high speed connections (or something better) first… I mean… 2 gens from now will have software containing HOW much information, and HOW much computing power? I can see high speed cable and DSL maxing out fairly quickly.

I dunno. I'm not as technologically versed on this as I wish I was, but to the uneducated bystander, such as myself, it seems to me that those broadband connections themselves would become the lowest common denominator of all the tech, would it not?

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Underdog, 15 years ago everyone was doing dial up. The bandwidth will be there. In fact, in many areas it already is.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

where are these areas? i have the highest speed connection available in my area, and i can't even begin to express to you my frustration of how long it takes to download things.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Well, for one I can speak of, in Utah, when I lived there 5 years ago, had whole fiber optic installed areas, including more metropolic locations. At the time they were offering 20MB bandwidth caps.

You realize that's more than fast enough to deliver nigh, Blu Ray quality video streaming?

Oh when you say "how long it takes to download something"
I think youre missing the point of Cloud networking.
The idea is to virtually eliminate large data file transfers altogether.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/16/2011 11:39:14 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Temjin,

I have three gamers in my house. If we had HD gameplay streams to each console, that's a lot of data, and no current Internet service I am aware of could manage it. Also, that HD stream is compressed. there will be compression artifacts that you do *NOT* see when playing a game locally. Streaming the game data to the console and running it locally is a much more doable proposition though.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Eh, they'll figure it out in 15 years 😉
I'm still blown away that today I can from work, type into this computer phone on a message board, among many other things. The science behind technology is a boulder rolling forward gaining velocity. Considering the massive academic buzz surrounding a Cloud based future, human will, will take us there.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

@temjin

thank you for explaining it. i don't like the idea of having my games in a cloud so to speak. no connection, no games. plus what if the service is disrupted or can't handle the number of users? i still think it's over 10 yrs away.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Imagine a 1 month cloud outage caused by lulzsec….

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Yeah, network failure would be a downer. Better keep some books or classic games on hand for those rainy days. For me, I get more draw time in 🙂

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

Or what about any smaller technical issue. No problem. Call 800 number at the bottom of the screen and spend your evening talking to customer service.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Eld, my blood pressure just spiked 15 points even thinking about that.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Highlander-

"I have three gamers in my house. If we had HD gameplay streams to each console, that's a lot of data, and no current Internet service I am aware of could manage it."

What do you mean by this exactly? All three playing online at once, all three streaming HD, or something completely different. Sorry if it's a stupid question just trying to be more clear on what you mean.

Reason I ask is we have 3 PS3, and 2 PC's constantly running online. my roomates play online on their PC's or PS3 and stream Netflix or hulu from their media PC's all night at the same time ( picture them playing games while watching movies, Thats what they do), while I either stream Netflix or am playing online with them from my PS3. We have 20mbps service. Does this factor into what you are saying?


Last edited by bigrailer19 on 6/16/2011 1:50:27 PM

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

He's talking about all three people in his house hold streaming HD games at one time with his connection is a no go.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Ok thanks jawknee. That's what I thought. Area constraints are still at large, even where I live so I see where he's comin from.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

What I'm getting at BigRailer, is that in this future that people keep pushing where we stream games live to our screens instead of having consoles, that would mean in a multi-gamer home, you would have one HD video stream (the game is running on a remote server, not a local console) per gamer. So for three gamers, that's three HD video streams, one for each game session being played. Now the thing is, that games rendered locally have great fidelity, but to push 60 frames per second at HD resolution down a broadband connection, you have to use a lot more compression than found on a BluRay disk. To accommodate multiple players per location with fully streamed gameplay, there will have to be a substantial increase in collective and local bandwidth to cope with that. But the thing that will be a deal breaker for me is that to stream 1080p60 at a realistic data rate, there will have to be considerable video compression, and that is bound to lead to significant compression artifacts such as blockiness visible on screen, especially during fast moving sections of a game.

All in all, I despise the idea of playing games on remote servers and streaming the video to my home.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Yea, with the way speeds are now, I can that becoming a problem. I have pretty fast cable internet and I can't even play a game online while the wife watches Netflix without either Netflix or the game lagging.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
9 years ago

Highlander-

Thanks for clearing that up, and I'm glad I asked cus I was thinking you meant something else. But I agree with you that playing games on a remote server is not a good idea. And my point was that even though our Internet stays stable now with all our activity, there is some hiccups, and I don't think it would handle much more. Gaming doesn't seem to be the issue with lag, it's streaming that seems to be our issue of there is one with buffering. But Netflix actually works very well regardless, but some services like hulu are terrible for us.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

"JUST SAY NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO"!!!!!!!!!!


Last edited by BikerSaint on 6/16/2011 11:06:46 AM

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
9 years ago

I know right? I can't believe some of us are actually entertaining the idea.

Developers envisage a future where they don't waste money printing, packaging and shipping discs. They don't need to pay those pesky retailers. Instead, they charge us fifty quid to stream some shit over the internet, thereby eliminating competetive pricing and the 2nd hand market. Cute. Now f**k off!

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

Already happening Radioheader.

15 years ago, games like Braid, Castle Crashers or Limbo would have shipped out on discs or cartridges. Now, anything below 1GB is pretty much download only on Steam, PSN or Live, eliminating physical media altogether since the game file is small enough for most people.

Plus, these games are download, not streamed or cloud-based, meaning you download it and own it. Only difference is, if you lose your HDD, you lose the game but not the digital receipt, so you just re-download the game again once you've got your console fixed.

I can only see cloud-based gaming and streaming working once everyone in the world has access to 1GB p/s bandwidth and unlimited download packages from ISP's, which I believe is still another 20-25 years away, or 3 more console generations.

I reckon PS4 and PS5 will keep physical media for the old school gamers, but there will be a definite push in downloadable content and games becoming the norm.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

i don't buy it. there will still be a box that sits by your tv whether its made by sony or ms. until broadband speeds improve substantially this pipedream of streaming is just that.

2 yrs until the next console cycle begins is probably a spot on prediction, though.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Whether it's a box or a protocol built into the TV it wouldn't matter. The idea here is to eliminate a $250-$600 piece of hardware to buy into.

Eld
Eld
9 years ago

It's not like this service will be free. Think of enormous cost to deploy and maintain infrastructure for something like this. Monthly charge would quickly add up to ridiculous amounts surpassing cost of local gaming hardware. It's all on us in the end.

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

"For our part, we maintain our stance that without a physical product, the hardcore gamers will be quite unhappy. But perhaps in time, that will change as well."

The hardcore gamers will not be hardcore gamers in about 10 years. That's when life (marriage, family, career, etc.) really sets in. On top of that, lots of people I know (myself included) don't buy nearly as many games as we used to, nor are we as interested in games as we used to be. I guess those people, along with myself, are slowly growing out of the gaming phase. I predict it will happen to the current generation of hardcore gamers, and the hardcore gamers of 10 years in the future will likely be more into digital gaming instead of console gaming.


Last edited by Nas Is Like on 6/16/2011 11:14:21 AM

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

Depends though, you can't be stereo typical about the "hard core gamer". The hardcore gamer, be it male or female, does not necessarily have to follow the "normal", however it may be defined in the 21st century…

I should be married with kids now right, as I am in my mid 30's. Well I am not, and probably will never intend to marry nor have the responsibility and expense of having a family… and yet I am still a gamer, and enjoy the harder side of gaming.

Also, as you say; "and the hardcore gamers of 10 years in the future will likely be more into digital gaming instead of console gaming", is probably quite true. All we need to look at are the mobility trends of today and one can extrapolate that digital distribution and mobile gaming will probably be the norm…

The question are, will people be happier for it? will they be happy being always connected? Will they want to stream and consume all their data from the cloud? Will they be satisfied with the security methods used to protect their privacy and data?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"


Last edited by Qubex on 6/16/2011 11:26:54 AM

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

"The hardcore gamers will not be hardcore gamers in about 10 years. That's when life (marriage, family, career, etc.) really sets in."

Not so. I have been married for 2 years, I have a child, a band and a home business to run and I still find time to play games. Games come after my family and work but I still make and find time to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies. Seems to me if you're really a ore gamer than you will not give up the hobby despite life moving forward.


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/16/2011 11:29:13 AM

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

ugh, typos. sorry just woke up.

"ore" should be "core" and "than" should be "then".

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

oops replied in wrong area.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 6/16/2011 11:49:45 AM

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
9 years ago

oops I just wanted to be the third fail in a row.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

It sure seems the PC devs want a new console.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

It seems PC devs want the console to die.

Qubex
Qubex
9 years ago

It seems like it… they are pushing hard for a premature birth of the next generation…

I guess if it can guarantee us 1080p at 60fps for every game released, be it multi platform or exclusive – it can only be a good thing…

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

PC devs are hoping for a continual resolution drive forwards. Never mind that it's actually difficult to see much difference between resolutions higher than 1080p, even sitting at a monitor. PC games and development have been driven by display resolution and GPU performance for nearly two decades. If anything is nearing the end of it's life, it's that.